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June 17, 2008

Cheap and Cheerful

Things I like:

• Being at the grocery store and letting the guy behind me go ahead in line. He was only buying a bouquet of flowers (sweet.)

• When people let me go in line in front of them when I only have one item.

Gold Bond lotion. Last time I was visiting my parents I tried this stuff and was hooked. It's heavy and thick and it absorbs into my skin pretty fast. Living in a place with low humidity most of the year takes a toll on the ol' scales and lizardlike loveliness of the skin.

• Finding a new radio station that plays good music (if you're in Los Angeles it's 100.3 FM)

• Out here on the freeways the motorcyclists always drive in the space between two lanes of cars (they drive where the dotted line is.) It took me a long time to get used to that! Anyway, I like it when you see a motorcycle coming and you move over a little in your lane to give them more space and then they give you the "thank you" hand wave of acknowledgment. It feels like collusion for the greater good.

• I love Flickr! It's free to just browse people's pictures and I get all the best inspiration and good lunchtime desk-surfing entertainment from it. Some of my favorite flickr picture sets:

• I think so much of what is cool about the innernets is how you get to peek into some other person's life, maybe a total stranger halfway around the world! I love looking at the photos of Chez Larsson, a family living in Sweden who have the best taste in home design (I just love her clean, happy looking home.) She also has a blog and I enjoy reading what she says about organizing and her home. And she likes maps (I collect maps, love them.) Since I'm a total Cancer with Cancer rising I am basically a hermit wrapped inside a homebody -- home is pretty important to me! And I'm still trying to figure out what my personal decorating preferences are, and how to scale back the piles of crap and how to live my best, happiest and simplest. Seeing this complete stranger's pictures inspires me and makes me feel like you don't have to have a bazillion dollars and a personal decorator to have a cheerful and well-appointed home. I love that. Props to Al Gore for inventing this thing.

• Another website that is free and inspiring to me is called "Apartment Therapy." There are so many creative people out there!

• Free recipes at Epicurious.com. My favorite recipes are Coriander Lime Shrimp (it's really cilantro-lime shrimp, and it's SO GOOD.) I use only about half the marmalade in the recipe because I like spicy food (less sweet) but I have made it both ways and it's very tasty. My other favorite recipe is a sun-dried tomato sauce for pizza that is amazing. Basically it's just roasted garlic pureed with sundried tomatoes and it is so good. I make mini-pizzas using whole grain pita bread, which is just the right size for an individual pizza. Spread on the sauce, add goat cheese and peppers and caramelized onions and it is heavenly!

• Iced tea. I love iced tea, especially in summer.

• Mascara. What a good invention.

• Van Morrison songs. Before I went all no-shop, I bought the latest Van Morrison CD called Keep It Simple. If you are a Van Morrison fan you'll love this CD, it sounds like a classic on the first play.

• Scottish accents.

• A pretty scarf tied on a handbag.

• Thank you so much to reader Sandy for alerting me to the Cascadian Farms website which has a store search and product locator for all their good stuff, but specifically the Organic Green Beans with Almonds I am addicted to. The Whole Foods stopped carrying them and I love -- LOVE -- these green beans. I can eat them every day and sometimes I do. Thanks to their cool search feature I found several stores near me that have my favorite green beans. Now, if only finding ALL products were that easy!

• Musical cards!! I have developed a serious addiction to musical greeting cards. I love to buy them for people for their birthdays and for the holidays. My parents know it's not a card from me unless the thing is singing!

• Avocados.

• Cats who snuggle in the morning and don't want you to leave for work.

• Vines on my pumpkin plants! I have never grown a pumpkin plant before and I go out back and look at them as often as I can. Sometimes I don't get home until it's dark, so a few days will go by and then I'll get to look at them and they will have grown a foot in just three days! They have a good enough head start on the zucchini that they may even take over the whole raised bed:

june15-pumpkin-viney.jpg

It is hard to get a sense of the scale from that image, but the raised bed is a little larger than a four-foot square. It's pretty big. I may have to relocate one of the zucchini since the pumpkin wants to take over!

The pumpkin plant I bought was in a small 4-inch container (there were two seedlings stuck in there together) and it cost me $1.99 -- certainly the BEST $1.99 I have ever spent! It is now a bazillion inches big and has little tee-tiny pumpkins on it. I kept the plastic marker that came with the plant when I bought it because that is how I roll. Just this weekend I looked at the information on the marker more closely -- I wanted to know how big the pumpkins get before you pick them:

june15-pumpkin-100lbs.jpg

Then I called my dad because... ONE HUNDRED POUNDS? That cannot be true. Can it?

"Dad, do you think this is a typo? Can a pumpkin be 100 pounds? Maybe they meant ten pounds?" I asked.

"No," he said. Laughing. "It's not a typo, some people grow 900 pound pumpkins."

And of course this made me very excited, because I did manage to grow a 23 pound zucchini last year, so why not grow a seven-hundred-pound-pumpkin? Gardening is so fun. Mysterious, but fun.

My beautiful pumpkin blossom:

june15-pumpkin-blossom.jpg

And my first baby pumpkin!!!!!
june15-pumpkinbaby.jpg

Posted by laurie at June 17, 2008 8:22 AM